Paleo Applesauce-Spice Muffins
Why This Recipe Works
Building on the success of our Blueberry Muffins, we decided to create a second muffin with a different flavor profile. We chose apple, hoping that we could use unsweetened applesauce as our liquid and replace the blueberries with juicy chunks of apple. In an initial test, we found that applesauce worked well: It provided the right amount of moisture as well as some flavor and sweetness. But the chunks of apple produced too much steam as they baked, and turned the interior of the muffins gummy. Instead, we turned to raisins, which didn’t add any moisture but provided pleasant bursts of sweetness in the finished muffins. Next, we turned our focus to leavening agents. In our Blueberry Muffins, we used cream of tartar, which is acidic, to activate the baking soda, and found that this strategy worked perfectly in these muffins as well. To get the sweetness of our muffins just right, we tested honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar, a natural sugar made from the sap of the coconut plant. Although honey gave the muffins a beautiful golden color, tasters found the flavor overpowering. Maple syrup tasted better, but muffins made with it didn’t brown at all, leaving us with pale, unattractive muffins. In the end, coconut sugar gave the muffins just the right amount of sweetness as well as nicely browned exteriors.